Vaught's Views: Hobbs looking for exposure

May 21, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

As much as Tom Hobbs would like to think the inaugural Centre College Invitational Field Hockey Kick-Off would be the area's most talked about sports event Labor Day weekend, he knows better.

Two football kickoffs - the one on Sept. 3 when Danville and Boyle County play and one on Sept. 5 when Kentucky and Louisville play - will be tthe ones talked about in this area just like they are every year.

But that doesn't mean Hobbs doesn't have a good idea, or one that could grow into an entertaining event for local sports fans.

"I would love to eventually get to the point where we are drawing big crowds and everybody is talking about our event," said Hobbs. "I just hope this first year that some people will come out to see what field hockey is all about.


"I want to be able to expose people, especially young students, to field hockey. Maybe I can find a way to go introduce the game to more people. I know it is going to be hard to get a lot of local support this first year, but you have to start somewhere."

Give him credit for trying as well as putting together a nice way to start the field hockey season.

First, he talked Cunningham Golf Cart Company of Louisville, a Centre corporate sponsor, to donate an extra $1,000 for the event.

Golf and field hockey? Actually, the connection is simple. Bob Nesmith had two daughters play field hockey at Centre, including one graduating this year. He's also with Cunningham Golf.

Seven other schools are coming

Second, he talked seven other schools into coming to Danville Sept. 4-5 for Centre's invitational. Joining the Colonels will be Bellarmine, Wooster, Earlham, Kenyon, Ohio Wesleyan, Rhodes and Sewanee.

Hobbs said previously there had been similar tournaments at other locations to end the season, or even once to start the year. However, the past two years there has not been an event like this to highlight college field hockey.

"We really want to put on a first-class event to start the season. We'll have seven matches over two days and they should be really competitive. Thanks to Cunningham Golf Cart and some other local sponsors, we think we'll be able to show all the teams an incredible time while they are here," Hobbs said. "Some teams will get to play teams they may not normally get to play."

Hobbs understands field hockey is a relatively unknown sport here. No area school has a field hockey team. Most area sports fans probably wouldn't know anything about how to even play field hockey.

Yet Hobbs feels he's been able to attract quality players to Centre and thinks the program is only going to get better.

"We think we really have a good freshman class coming in and we hope we can use this event as a recruiting tool for future classes," Hobbs said. "Our players still really don't know all the details about this, but they are excited about just what I have told them."

And what about the community?

"Hey, I know it will take time to get people interested in field hockey," Hobbs said. "But if we can show the teams a good time, have some good competition and maybe just get a few more people interested in our program, then it all will have been worthwhile."

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